Saturday, April 07, 2007

Game Report: Stanley £50 Freezeout 30/3/07

It's not often losing to a 2-outer on the river - after getting your chips in as a 4/1 pre-flop favourite - comes as a relief.

Yet in a way that's exactly how I felt last Saturday as my pocket queens went down in flames to a pair of eights.

Another night at The Stanley on Sauchiehall Street, another well organised event, with a decent turnout of over forty meaning first paid just over £1000, and enough chips to allow a good bit of play.

Which was just as well for me, since I was completely off form and card dead. A distinctly unhealthy combination.

Events were conspiring against me before we had even made it to the venue. A lengthy Friday night online session, and a crowded Saturday schedule which eliminated any chance of a catch up nap, meant I was in far from peak physical condition.

Throw in some confusion about the start time of the competition - eight o'clock for anyone interested - which led to some disarray in our travel plans, and it wasn't looking good.

I always seem to take a while to settle in these live games, probably due to the fact it's still a deviation from the norm for me, rather than a five nights a week event, as it seems to be for some of my fellow players.

Throw in some fatigue and my early nerves were worse than usual, which contributed to me making a series of schoolboy errors. Fumbling chips, getting confused about blind levels, acting out of turn, and most criminally, giving off a monumental tell at one point.

Compound this with the fact that the only playable hands I had were a couple of medium pocket pairs in early position - which both ran into bigger hands - and it's easy to see why my starting 8,000 chips had dwindled to about 6,500 as we approached the final hand of the first session with the blinds 150/300.

Helping myself to a few orphan pots had mitigated the chip losses from the bigger pots, and I felt I was just settling into my stride.

The hand of doom was the last of the level, with the break looming. An open raise to 1000 from the button saw me in the SB looking down at those alluring queens.

It's amazing how quickly decisions are made in these circumstances, and the level of thought that is compressed into just a few seconds.

I did consider a smooth call, but didn't want to price in the BB and find myself three handed and out of position.

The most compelling driver was that I knew both button and BB were decent enough to recognise the button raise looked like a possible steal, and I could easily be restealing thin.

This meant I'd get action if either of them did have a half-decent hand.

Which, as it happens, was precisely what transpired, so I can hardly complain when the cards go against me.

As I hinted earlier, I was beginning to think I was doomed to crash out making some sort of donkey play. At least I got to walk away with indignation, rather than indignity, as the theme for the hand.

At the time I thought the call was a little loose, but running my probable range through PokerStove, eights were just about dead even, and the last hand before the break is as good a time as any to try to turn a slightly short stack into a decent contender. So, no complaints there either.

Despite the fact I made it out in time for the last train home, I'm sure I'll be back. The Stanley are making a real effort at putting on a good night for the poker players, and deserve some support.

Low juice, a free buffet, and the Friday night drinks promos, all contribute to a good customer experience.

The plan is for Saturdays to become a regular £50 Freezeout, which probably makes for a tougher game than the Friday rebuy, but an enjoyable night out, with the possibility of a juicy payday.

It's also what I'd class as 'proper poker' which hopefully makes it a good learning experience in preparation for bigger games ahead.

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